A new squash centre under the Core Sports Development programme has been opened at the LADA sports complex in Langkawi recently.
This brings the total number of squash centres operating in Kedah to four.
The other three are the Muadzam Shah sports complex in Lebuhraya Sultan Abdul Halim, Alor Star, with four coaches and 90 players; Sultan Abdul Hamid sports complex in Sungai Petani with four coaches and 80 players; and the Chinese Recreation Club in Kulim with two coaches and 35 players.
Two more centres at the Polimas in Bandar Darulaman and College Metriculasi in Changloon are also opening.
The Langkawi centre’s head coach Mohd Zahir Ali said that the response had been tre- mendous since the centre was opened.
”All the 54 players who enrolled are new to squash and have to start from the begin-ning.
“Since the centre was opened two months ago, I have identified two ten-year-old boys Aiman Hafiff and Azrul Asyraf as players with natural talent. They should make it to the top if given the proper guidance,” said Mohd Zahir.
Mohd Zahir is assisted by Mohd Farizal Ahmad Termizi and Che Noriza Mustapa.
Kedah Core Sports Develop-ment officer Ku Fadzillah Ku Hamid said that squash was becoming increasingly popular in Kedah.
“The enthusiasm and interest shown by young players in all the centres are indeed heartening. If they are well nurtured, we’ll have a good base to lift the standard of the game in the state.
“Squash has emerged as a popular sport because of our world-class players like Nicol David and Ong Beng Hee. Everyone wants to become a Beng Hee or a Nicol,” said Ku Fadzillah.
The unprecedented success of Teh Min Jie from Sungei Petani in the first leg of the CIMB national junior circuit in Penang recently has also contributed partly to the keen interest shown by Kedah youngsters.
Her achievement has fired up the imagination of other players.
The Kedah Squash Associa- tion teetered on the verge of extinction a few years ago due to lack of interest and support but today under the leadership of Andrew Lim Hwa Eng (president) and Lee Soon Guan (secretary), KSA have made tremendous strides.